By Adeniyi Adedeji, Ilorin
The Kwara State Government has distributed tractors to farmers at subsidised rates as part of its strategies to strengthen large scale farming, boost food security and lessen poverty rate in the state.
The tractors, 50 in all, were given at N10,000 per hectare of land, which is about N6,000 less than the market cost of hiring the machinery from private firms.
The distribution, which took place at Lafiagi, in Edu Local Government Area of the state was said to be under the government’s ‘Tractorization Subsidy Scheme’ to boost food production in the state.
Technical Assistant to the state governor on Agriculture, Abdulqowiy Olododo, who spoke with journalists said, “This is the first phase of our interventions to the farmers and we will move from tractorization to supply of input to the farmers.
“This is in fulfilment of Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq’s electoral promise to support local farmers in the state. Secondly, we took this step because we are envisaging that there could be food shortage as a result of the ravaging COVID-19 pandemic. So, this is one of the ways we think we can upscale food production in Kwara State.”
Olododo said the initiative was to support both the subsistence and commercial farmers in Kwara State to boost their production for this season at heavily subsidised rate of N10,000 per hectare for ploughing, ridging and harrowing.
Also, Senior Special Assistant to the governor on Job Creation, Alhassan Aliyu, disclosed that the 50 tractors were acquired by the government for distribution to all local government areas, based on request.
On her part, a member of the state Task Force on the Implementation of the Tractorization Subsidy Scheme and Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Sustainable Development Goals, Dr Jamila Bio-Ibrahim, said the scheme was in line with Goal Two of the SDGs.
The aim, she said was to eradicate hunger, improve nutrition, and food security and at the same time promote sustainable agriculture in the state.
“Agricultural mechanisation will improve yields, address nutrition issues and food security in the state,” she said.
Bio-Ibrahim urged farmers to take advantage of the subsided tractors to improve yields so as to encourage government to do more.
One of the beneficiaries, a farmer in Lafiagi, Muhammad Shaaba Lafiagi, thanked the state government for the initiative, saying the tractors would improve their production this year.
He said, “It’s been a very long time we got such support from the state government. This will help us greatly and bring development. We are optimistic that we will get more support from the government.”
The scheme had earlier kickstarted in Moro Local Government, and was scheduled to be launched in Kwara South and Kwara Central senatorial districts respectively, in the next few days.
This comes barely two weeks after the state Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development Adenike Afolabi-Oshatimehin, flagged off the 2020 planting season, during which the government offered technical supports to farmers